tv Cross Talk RT May 8, 2013 3:29am-4:01am EDT
hello and welcome to cross talk where all things are considered i'm peter a logo is this the beginning of the end or the end of the beginning because israel's massive attack near damascus days ago widen syria's raging civil war what are the chances of iran and hezbollah could be directly drawn into this conflict then there's the issue of chemical weapons should western support of assad's enemies what's wrong if it is proven the rebels are using them against their own
people. to cross talk syria i'm joined by pepe escobar in london he is an investigative journalist and author in washington we have christopher chivas he's a senior political scientist at the rand corporation and an adjunct professor at john hopkins university and in new york we cross it jeffrey he is a defense reporter with business insider right gentlemen cross-talk rosen of i mean you can jump in anytime you want pepe if i go to you first it looks like there's more and more effort to inflame the conflict in syria then resolve it would you agree or disagree with that. this is just the beginning of tempted to start. you know seeing a little bit peter what a wonderful world this would be the obviously to make the g.c.c. this is what they're trying you know it's the same old story the us the brits and the french inside eight of the brits and of france are trying to convince the other
nato members that little with one izing of the rebels is this way to go just to see of course those paragons of democracy including the house of solid of course which has been doing that for in fact the whole for two years now in the black market. you name it and of course israel israel just jumped in because the a which was the lethal weapon izing of the rebels was not working there was this red line after red line everybody got lost in this hollywood shuffle at the same time they noticed that the syrian army was progressing instead of regressing in their home the home scores are in syria so all the so-called rebels the free syrian army gangs and bottles noura style jihad is are losing ground and at the same time shake not swallow went to iran he had a get together with supreme leader ayatollah how many they are very tight so an attack on each one of them is an attack on all of them so what to do plan b.
call is are all something that was already decided between chuck hagel his tour of the middle east recently israel and the patrimony case israel does it if they are they one hundred ten missiles struck by israel good for israel if they are not they still deplete a syrian army arsenal and we start all over again with plan b. so i expect more attacks sooner rather than later chris what do you think about that plan b. i mean i think that the purposes for israel's strike were the fact that one ten missiles i wouldn't read into it too much more than that after all israel has conducted strikes against syria even before this war started out their primary concern right now is hezbollah or hezbollah to get those kinds of missiles it would pose a significant threat to israel's air defense system and that's obviously not something that they can allow to happen ok jeffrey when it way in plan b.
as pepe said. i think that iran is basically trying to to use the use syria's as a smokescreen and all the chaos there is a smokescreen to smuggle weapons that has well it's as simple as that so israel simply you know took those weapons out for a syria is concerned you know that's a big messy sandwich and everyone's going to have to take a bite it's not as simple as arming rebels we don't really know who we're arming it's a whole lot more fractious than we think we're not even sure that what's going to replace assad is going to be better maybe year ago maybe but but honestly right now i just think that that it's a mess and it's only going to get messier m.p. you want to jump in there talking ran. but effective all of us think tank land left right middle whatever they know that washington is selling itself the mess that the cia is screaming which weapons go to which groups this is called
bleakly absurd always of these people never been to syria they have never been to the turkish syrian border and they don't know the players you know some of the ribbon their agenda is not to washington's agenda school politically different cutter they want some kind of move the brotherhood led government in syria and the house of sol they want the wahhabi amrit which is going to breed lots of all. types later on their agenda is completely different and they're doing they're arming themselves sometimes they go through turkey sometimes it's screened by the cia in certain turkey but we don't know who gets these weapons. you know at the last resort and most of these people are getting their weapons in directly are job but because they have very good connections for instance with the tribal sheiks in our unbar province in iraq lot of commanders that affiliated with nor are they are
not syrians they're iraqis they were fighting the americans in the province thousand and four two thousand and five two thousand and six i met some of these people at a time over there and now they're syria they're doing the back and forth across the border for you are agreeing to head. well you know i think that i think that iraq has a lot to do with it their civil war then let's call it what it is it's a civil war is spilling into syria everyone's trying to get their piece of bread get the big piece of bread here and puppies right you know the cia it's the same old song and dance they've been doing it for forty years they did it with the taliban you saw what happened there and it's you know there's no excuse for it really and yeah they are selling there's a couple things that they're selling one thing that they're selling that they tried to sell late last year was that the f.s.a. was this united you know western style military and that's anything but the case they're totally fractious and they're fighting amongst each other they're fighting
job. and everyone's vying for power right now so you know there's there's really only two good options here i see one would be. that we're able to keep assad in power and he's able to come to an agreement with the rebels in which they all get a piece of the pie something kind of like how lebanon lebanon's government is and the other one is if the f.s.a. can unite and i just don't see that happening and the more that we arm these guys the worse off it's going to be i mean libya is still a mess and you see you saw that that spilled south into africa it's just it's just a giant mess and and giving them weapons is going to solve anything so i honestly i think that that's why obama is sort of in a tough position here politically you know you want to talk to every american president was does but really what's he going to do he's not even sure what he's going to do and now they're sort of backpedaling because they don't really have intel on these guys they don't really know who they are and you can't just go you
know drop in weapons willy nilly so it's really a tough situation and and iraq is is in the shadows in the n l tell you what if that erupts right along with syria which i think it's going to it's just going to be it's going to be horrible it's going to be horrific and i don't think that there's anything. that obama france or or britain can really do about it other than the just let it play out ok chris let it play out yeah i can just say i mean i think you know i don't know who pepys been talking to me and he paints an interesting picture but it's certainly not the same people in washington think tank circles who i've been talking to. many of whom are have no illusions about the difficulties that are involved in trying to arm the opposition it's pretty widely known that there are a lot of risks and as you noted there's obviously risks that arms could get into the hands of nefarious groups like job it all nuestra nevertheless the fact of the matter is is that you know and respectfully i disagree that there's any solution in
which assad is going to remain in power that's simply not going to happen we need to be thinking about a post assad syria that protects all of the parties involved and that includes the all whites and here's where i think actually russia has an important role to weigh to play russia can look beyond you know the crisis today and think about you know what role it can play constructively in the future trying to i think it's going to do that it's been trying to do that for two years it's been trying to do that for two years and no one wants to listen pepe jump in absolutely they'll be tried they have been trying to do that and the americans have been saying no because obama i know what i want to one of the first obama lines is assad had to go and knowledge about the history and see look up there through us he's not going he still has support in the business glasses in damascus and aleppo they are not major defections in the syrian army i have to say that if every day because people in america they're not listening when no two generals that the fact that for
a few months this major defections they still control the army they are fully weaponized so it's not going to happen the only possible solution i agree from the beginning that's roughly one proposing that let's sit down. there all the players if you are including all the regional players betting that links hate iran says well and in addition to them i mean saying no in a situation like this it's so you can't just look are you going to have to do something to get get beyond assad. chris jumping go ahead what exactly are we going to do i mean i mean what we're talking about beyond assad i think it's already been written how exactly do we do that because i'll tell you what i mean is that he said on air recently that is military is quite capable of pushing the rebels back. crystal we do air as i said and that was going to grant spencer isn't it gentlemen let's go let's go to places like this go ahead insurgencies like this you know
last for decades there's no way that assad assad could potentially hold on to power for a number of years you know if the international community continues not to take any kind of action but in the end he's going to go and the question is what's going to happen then i agree with you about that and the reality is that we need to do everything we can to protect all sides including the alawite it's in syria from some kind of a major slaughter and that's going to require a lot more international cooperation including between russia the united states and nato and our partners in the region that we're getting right now. not only the other whites christians and kurds as well the kurds they are in north east syria they already have a measure of independence with practically no practical terms it's all trying to me they would love that to continue in fact the christians know that if there is a one hobby is style sunni hardcore opposed to assad government these are doomed and so are the alawite says well so if you have everybody at the same table
include of course with russia iran and the saudis and all the dishes from want to blow us westerners then at least some sort of built conversation leads to they're not even talking at the moment all right gentlemen i have to jump in here we're going to go to a short break and after that short break we'll continue our discussion on syrian state with our to. receive them. wealthy british style. sometimes.
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welcome back to cross talk we're all things are considered i'm peter lavelle to remind you we're discussing the crisis in syria. ok christian launch and let's talk more about hezbollah in iraq and do you think it's possibly going to be drawn into this conflict even more now after the israeli strike i think it certainly is possible i mean my view is people have been debating whether or not this is you know trending towards a broader regional conflict i think it already is a regional conflict i mean we have reports of direct exchanges of fire between hezbollah and the opposition forces in syria we have reports of iranian forces on the ground aiding the regime we obviously now have this israeli air strike even if it's carried out for another for another purpose the regimes response clearly indicates that they view that as a direct attack on them and part of the broader conflict and then obviously we have the situation in iraq which is difficult not to link to the situation in syria so i
think you know it really is already a regional crisis and the question is only how much worse does it get how much worse do we allow it to get jeff how much worse can it get oh it can get much worse and you know like i said i don't see any solution i don't see any quick solution happening simply by arming the rebels but in terms of hezbollah and iran i mean they're already involved in the conflict they've been involved in the conflict because assad is their blue chip how else is hezbollah going to get arms i mean that's their main route is right through syria so you know i just think that the idea of looking at this in terms of borders is you know it's naive not to say that anyone here is doing. but they're already involved in fighting there or they already have boots on the ground and they're already trying to shore up assad as much as possible so they're deeply invested and they want to keep assad in place otherwise you know has was not going be able to mount. assaults on israel as well
as they as they as they can with with supplies from iran imagine fair go ahead happy go ahead either they had. to answer your question we have to wait a little bit depends on what's going to happen in the iranian presidential elections next month all the candidates so far they are very very close to how many so this is not going to change this means they're very very close with the revolutionary guards as well syria is a red line for tehran and hezbollah support is a red line for tehran how they are going to respond to what's going on at the moment we're going to see maybe two or three months after we have a new government in place where we'll have a president that directly to come in the policy and not clashing with him like ahmadinejad and his cabinet but the saying is in terms of missiles even if we don't know from any source where there has ball are bought. one hundred of the
bands from iran even if they didn't they have a similar missile the m six hundred syrian technology it's almost as good as the the fact that one hundred tents so the key is if they were attacking israel in the near future they would use the m six hundred as they do need different they one hundred have been tense of course if we brought it on the ground not only. in syria and hezbollah but the g.c.c. petro markets especially the emirates qatar and the house of sound not to mention the logistical support of syria and yes i agree with our other guest it is already . already a regional conflict is going to get much worse especially because the west via u.s. britain and france they see their input into conduct anything on the ground and now we have jihad these let loose inside syria we're going to have hezbollah are
playing against al-qaeda which is a miracle in wet dream of course and we have the back and forth of jihad this between iraq and syria chris you want to jump in there well i just wanted to agree i think with it was jeff who said that you know that this is there's no easy solution to this that this is going to take time and i think that's a raw reality that everyone is confronting and i think that's clearly one of the reasons why you see the u.s. administration taking it slow it's obviously you know a situation where people want to act with a certain degree of caution in understanding that there is no perfect answer to this but again i mean i just i don't foresee any world in which the fighting ends and assad is still in power and i think that it's time that we all just accept that and move on to try and find some equitable and just solution to the problem with the full involvement of all of the interested international parties ok i mean this is a ask a question to our go into
a hotel american you know is it the west respond yes it would be to do this all this you know to change regime in syria better i like to ask our american guests a very important question bill richardson former governor of new mexico very close to the clinton plan he is being the spinning since last sunday that you're both of the restriction the seriously considering a real strikes against syria is there any degree of truth about that or this is just spin jeff you want to answer that. or chris i don't think that that's going to happen anytime soon i think that the obama administration knows that they have to be patient i think his red line talk was a little. only if you jump the gun a little bit although we don't want people to use chemical weapons. but no one is in a rush to go to go dropping bombs it never looks good it didn't look good even during libya and you know of course there's going to be american politicians there's going
to be hawks that are calling for it because it's it will obviously remove assad sooner but they're still not sure here's the thing they're still not sure what's going to replace him and if whatever replaces him it could be friendly to hezbollah who knows they could be friendly to you know to anyone who's willing to fight even though they're and sunni they could be friendly to anyone who's willing to fight the great devil so i think that we want to sort of get a better be made for what's going on on the ground before we start making any decisions like that that's quite a hasty decision and the other thing is that it's going to be difficult to get a bead in terms of what's going on on the ground you know there's fighting street to street and these guys are very fractious and these rebel groups are there fighting for their lives so you know it's hard to get good intel i mean as we saw with the with the chemical weapons use it's very hard to get good intel good solid intel so i just think that i think is i'm going to you when i say they're not going to be in iraq has anything that's going to get them in hot water have to jump in go
ahead. so now i just i was just adding that to you when that kind of the she is very very tough and extremely credible she said two days of gold that ricin gas was bradley used by the rebels and now you when the sun is just around the same. not say that is exactly you know chris what about the rebels using chemical weapons just now let's go to chris chemical weapons in the opposition the rebels let me just i mean just briefly on the question of you know whether or not the united states is considering any kind of air strikes against syria i mean i have no special information but i would frankly be surprised if it's not being considered right now given the statements that have been made by the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff publicly i think last week or the week which would that be a good idea what a security hole down to be a good idea in your opinion that be a good idea i think it's chris i think it it's obviously something that needs to be
considered as part of a broader effort you know the president can safely and really work. for peace interventions when do they work it worked extremely well in libya really today what martin disease laments the same this is a mess today because there was a no fly zone which it was about to get not do you think you know lies or two of your syria cut out these air force and air defense systems that was done handily in seventy two hours i don't think that we could take out because under the sentence of the two hours is not the case in syria but you know for the united states military especially working without aid and it's a little sore to be handled it would be very violent there would be a lot of on foreign sites much more of the risk of civilian casualties but there's no question about whether or not it could be done i mean that's purely academic i guess what it should be done i guess jeff let's talk about the issues with the rebels and chemical weapons go ahead i don't buy this whole you want to report straight up they're just not capable they don't have the capabilities to deliver
these these weapon systems assad does so. well i would say you know it's likely that it was the regime and not the rebels who were using these weapons she's gotten out ahead of herself quite a few times before in terms of making these wild claims i don't doubt the veracity of her research but at the same time she's thrown a couple red herrings in her career so i think we should we should reserve judgment before we we all you know pick up the football and start running with it here i think i just don't think the rebels are capable yet and these are very complex weapon systems is not easy to put these things together so so basically i think that it's probably the regime using those weapons it's not the rebels i don't know how she got mixed up but i just want to. point that is not suicidal operative this is true that if she said that it is because she has evidence no wonder the u.n. started backtracking that they offer you know one of the americans or stalling this
u.n. investigation from the beginning just talked with said again that i was going to. ok gentlemen what about the possibility it seems pretty clear let's change gears here ok chris what about partitioning the country. right i think that's you know a lot of the planning for actions that we need go ahead chris among the options that we need to get we no one knows what's going to be the right solution for this right now you simply can't predict this kind of thing in advance but i think that partition is certainly one of the possible outcomes here if it turns out that an internationally supported and un backed peace agreement that includes partition is possible and that's going to stop the fighting then absolutely i think that should be on the table pepe you get the last word twenty seconds and i'll add let me let me just twenty seconds going to jump in grant this is the right this is what israel and the neocons have been dreaming for over ten years just look at this in the report about regime change and of course later bibi partitioning of syria look at
what seymour hersh was saying already in two thousand and seven ok defy the rule a week syria divided into three warring just like iraq is already a partition of the place all right gentlemen i have to jump in here would run out of time fascinating discussion many thanks my guest today in london new york and washington and thanks to our viewers for watching a few darkie see you next time and remember cross talk a. little . easier. russia was built coal. fields for its factories. coke for its
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from the battlefield. russian washington agreed the wearing syrian told what washington feels weird freedom possibly giving arms to the rebels whose crime is worsening. long grabs at the heart of europe as france rejects austerity you want in britain the queen gets a pay rise as a subjects for that tighten their belts. central asia rolls in a violent wave of islam has done reza leaving nearby states hammering out plans to contain what's been dubbed the taliban eyes ation of the region.